The Toronto Raptors announced on Thursday that they have exercised their third-year team option on 21-year-old DeMar DeRozan.
The Dinos had until Oct. 31 to pick up the option on the swingman’s rookie contract, which will guarantee he will remain a Raptor through the 2011-12 season.
When notified of the news, the second-year man out of USC was both surprised and delighted that the club wants him to stay in Toronto.
“I wasn’t expecting it [picking up the option],” DeRozan told raptors.com. “It just came out of the blue when [Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo] walked over and told me, but I’m happy.
“It shows that I’m really liked here and hopefully I’m here for a while.”
Knowing how much the team values his services has not changed the 6-foot-7 guard/forward. DeRozan pledges to continue to play with the same level of energy and consistency.
“I’m going to go out there every night and play the same,” DeRozan said. “Nothing’s going to change that. It’s just for the love of the game. I love this game. Everything else that comes with it I’m thankful for that, but overall, I’m in it for the game.”
The Compton, Calif., native also expects that Year 2 of his NBA career will begin more productively because of how familiar he is with the team.
“Last year everything was new to me,” DeRozan said. “Everything was new, I had to learn [and] I had to learn everything on the go.
“[In] my second year I know what to expect coming in and I know the offence, I understand the defence, so it makes it a lot easier for me.”
He also believes he may be ready to contribute in a bigger way.
“I think my first year was a learning experience and I definitely want to come out and have some experience under my belt and help lead the team and help us [Raptors] get some wins.”
DeRozan was originally selected ninth overall in the 2009 NBA draft and averaged 8.6 points along with 2.9 rebounds during his rookie campaign.